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ACORx: Managing Medications and Keeping Patients Healthier

By Daniel Casciato

Studies have shown that the cost of medication non-compliance in the U.S. healthcare system can be as high as $400 billion annually when patients don't take their medications correctly. That figure includes the cost of readmissions, ER trips, additional doctor visits, and even missed days of work because someone didn’t take their medication properly.

“If you could save our healthcare system $400 billion a year, you're on to something,” says Shawn Nairn, founder of ACORx Pharmacy, a concierge pharmacy program dedicated to improving patient outcomes through enhanced compliance and ultimately, reducing the overall cost of care. “If you want to reduce people going to the hospital, going to the emergency rooms, going to nursing homes, then medication compliance is absolutely the first place to start. If you improve there, everything else will automatically improve.”

Nairn’s company, ACORx, addresses this problem by replacing the traditional Sunday-through-Saturday pill cases. Instead of making patients or their loved ones responsible for sorting their own medications or organize pill bottles–ACORx manages this process for them through its Medication Adherence Packaging (MAP). This packaging clearly organizes multiple medications in an easy-to-follow format, providing instant visual reinforcement of what medications to take and when.

There are several benefits, explains Nairn. First, the MAPs are filled and refilled by a pharmacist, not the patient, spouse, or other family member. This eliminates possibility of patient or caregiver errors.
“Secondly, we deliver it directly to the patient,” says Nairn. “Not only is the medication in the packaging correctly, which is often a problem, but it also solves the problem of transportation when people can't get to the pharmacy. We're solving at least two problems for people, along with a certain comfort level that their medications are packed and organized and set up for them to be a success with managing their medications.”

Few brick and mortar companies in the industry are following the ACORx model, notes Nairn. While there are many online pharmacies in the marketplace, he points out that one advantage is that ACORx’s delivery drivers are trained to work with patients. So they are cognizant of signals, symptoms and signs that they need to convey back to management.

“For example, they may tell us that a certain patient didn't look well today,” says Nairn. “Or that a patient still had all of her medications on her table from last month meaning that she didn't take them. So now I can call the patient, family member or caregiver to let them know. We train our delivery drivers to be aware of these concerns.”

Under the current COVID-19 rules, ACORx is using no contact delivery. Its delivery drivers will phone the patient when they arrive to their residence to let them know they are there but to stay in the house. They will leave the medication package by the front door, ring the doorbell, and then leave.
“A minute later, the patient can come out and grab the medication,” says Nairn. “It's literally no contact while we're trying to protect our drivers and trying to protect these patients in these ever-so-complicated times that we're dealing with.”

Medication compliance is critical to healthy, successful, and productive people, stresses Nairn. Not taking your medication or taking it when you want can be harmful to patients. The trickle down effect is harmful to the healthcare system.

“Improving a patient's medication compliance keeps them healthy longer and keeps them living at home longer,” says Nairn, adding that patients only pay their copay. “Those are the only charges that you have to pay us. Your medication review, your delivery, your refill requests, and everything we do for you is free.”

For more information, visit www.acorxpharmacy.com.

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